Coming soon: The Crossover celebrates the Euroleague's 20th season
A second, very special season on The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas begins with the inspirational story of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul guard Ali Muhammed, whose triumph over staggering adversity is one of the most moving tales of redemption you will hear on or off a basketball court.
Born in a Chicago stairwell 36 years ago and raised in one of the most notorious housing projects in the United States, Muhammed – Bobby Dixon – was the youngest of five children in a family from which no one escaped the ravages of the streets.
"The first time I remember my mom going to jail, I was 10, and she was selling drugs," he recalls. "I was old enough to understand what she was doing. She did three years, and I had to go live with my aunt. And my aunt, she was on drugs and had five kids... I was with her for a couple of months, and my brother was in the street a little bit, and that's when he got killed. He was the closest one to me in age. Four years older than me. It put me in a dark place, feelings-wise. I didn't have nobody at that time... And I just lost the closest thing to me, which was my brother."
Soon, young Bobby Dixon was selling drugs himself and got arrested before his last year of high school, ultimately spending almost a year in jail, his budding basketball career cut short. But the portion of his incarceration that he spent at a military-style boot camp for youth offenders helped him build a future.
"That taught me a lot," he says. "I was kind of a wild hothead. I needed that. I think that kind of saved my life."
The life that he built after that, with the help of mentors throughout the basketball community, led Muhammed on a career path that eventually saw him crowned a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion in 2017. Now, he has written a book that recounts his story in order to give hope to others.
"I just felt that people coming from my situation, I think they need to hear it, and I think the world needs to hear it," Muhammed said. "It's not everyday that people come out of these situations."
Muhammed's success unites with a special feature of the second season of The Crossover, in which Joe Arlauckas will celebrate the 20th season of the competition being under the ownership of the clubs and the management of Euroleague Basketball by talking with champions from across both decades. At least 10 episodes of The Crossover from here to the end of the season will be devoted to recounting that 20-year success story.
With a one-hour format of exclusive one-on-one interviews, The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas goes well beyond the playing court with each podcast to delve into the life experiences that have made his guests protagonists and legends of the EuroLeague.
The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas is available on iTunes, Audioboom, Spotify, Deezer, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, CastBox, Stitcher and other platforms.
The Crossover has featured some of the greats of the competition, including Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos Piraeus, Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and Kyle Hines of CSKA Moscow, coaches Pablo Laso of Real Madrid and Zeljko Obradovic of Fenerbahce, and retired stars Nikola Vujcic of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Robertas Javtokas of Zalgiris Kaunas, among others.